Today I am talking about forgiveness: what works, what doesn’t, and how forgiveness is ultimately about you, not them.
There are many things in life that require forgiveness: people cutting you in line, your partner doing something stupid, and your new boss setting you up for failure at every turn. Yet to effectively forgive someone, you first need to understand what forgiveness REALLY means.
Want to watch a video where I talk about this topic and how it’s important in Season 1 of Ted Lasso? You can find it here.
2 common mistakes most people make when it comes to forgiveness:
1. Forgive and Forget
If you forgive and forget, then you are likely to get blindsided again if the person who broke your trust doesn’t change. This doesn’t mean that you should hold what they did over their head forever. Just remember that it happened, and learn from it.
2. Forgiveness means you condone what they did
Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you think what they did is OK! We can all do some pretty shitty things to one another. Just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean you condone what they did. If I steal all the money in your bank account, you can forgive me, and I can still go to jail.
The truth is, despite popular opinion, forgiveness ultimately is NOT about the other person.
Sure the other person is involved. But, when your blood is boiling from what they did, and they aren’t even there with you, the question becomes: how will you find a way to make peace with what happened? How long do you let them have power over you?
Obviously, you don’t like what happened. Here’s your choice: you can either be the bigger person and find a way to make peace with the situation and move on, OR you can just sit there and steam about it like a little pork bun.
3 surprising truths about Forgiveness
1. Look at WHY they did what they did
You could make the other person feel ashamed, and you might be right to do it. However, this may only break your relationship even further, which may not be what you want.
If you can understand what the person was thinking when they hurt you, and they feel remorseful about it, then it gives you a place to work together.
You may be able to find a place inside yourself where you can see yourself and the other person as human beings who make mistakes. You may not like what they did, but in a world where you struggle too, you can forgive them for their mistake and start to heal the relationship.
2. Being forgiven may be harder work for them than you staying angry.
If the person who wronged you really cares and wants to make amends, that means they have work to do. When you forgive them, they have to come to terms with the fact that they hurt someone who loves them enough to forgive them. That can be more difficult to accept than any angry words you could say to them.
3. Holding a grudge actually hurts you, not them!
In a world where nasty, crazy, and inconsiderate things happen all the time, who do you want to be? Do you want to carry around the weight of grudges and feuds? Fill your veins with the bad blood of division and hatred from holding on to memories of what happened long ago? When you hold onto a grudge, it gives the other person all the power. It’s like you drinking poison and expecting them to die.
Think for a moment about someone you have a grudge against. If the person who wronged you doesn’t care and you still hold a grudge, do you realize that they aren’t thinking about you and that they may not even remember what happened? So why are you holding on to it?
Ultimately, the real question about what life you want to live isn’t about them or whether or not they are forgivable. It’s more about if you want to continue to hold on to those feelings inside yourself.
Be willing to forgive and move forward with your life.
Want to create better communication in your relationship? Grab a spot in my free Masterclass – How to Communicate: Relationship Edition!
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